Attack on Immigrants

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Migrant Protection Protocol…. Remain in Mexico….. family separation…. Lowest refugee ceiling in recent history…. Bans on Muslims…. ICE raids….  The attack on immigrants has been relentless and increasingly brutal.  The recent action – to reduce the number of refugees to be resettled to a mere 18,000 is just the latest action.  What does this mean?

This number refers to those who are accepted into the U.S. Resettlement Program (USRP).  A refugee is a person outside of his/her country who is unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

The U.N. recommends groups for resettlement. These individuals apply in their own country or resettlement camps in neighboring countries for entry into the US and where they will be settled. They receive extreme vetting.  Since the program started in 1980, an average of 95,000 refugees were resettled in the U.S. There are currently around 40,000 who have gone through the process and are ready to be resettled. Sadly, the administration recently announced that they would only admit 18,000 in 2020.   These 18,000 will be used to resettle 4,000 Iraqis who have assisted our forces there, 1,500 refugees from Central America’s Northern Triangle, 5,000 refugees fleeing religious persecution, and a remainder of 7,500 for other needs.

In 2018 only 1 out of 500 refugees needing resettlement received it with only the most vulnerable refugees being considered for resettlement. Reasons for admittance include medical needs, children at risk, women and girls at risk, and survivors of violence/torture.

The decline in the U.S. refugee admissions comes at a time when the number of refugees worldwide has reach the highest levels since WW 2 to 70.8 million. Around 80% of the world’s refugees have been living in exile for 5 years and around 1/5 of them for 20 years.  Violence, war, economic collapse, and climate change are the primary reasons that refugees flee their countries.

Many of the members of the House of Representatives don’t like this reduction.  They have introduced HR 2146, the Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act to ensure that the U.S. would admit no fewer than 95,000 refugees each year.  Call your representative if you think the U.S. has a responsibility to welcome those in need.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

4 responses to “Attack on Immigrants

  1. Many people are needed to help refugees settle in a new country, and the scope of this challenge is either seldom or never discussed. Without a long term commitment from people to help new comers, refugees tend to treat their women as they did in their former countries. This happens.
    Churches may provide some of this help, housing has to be found, help to navigate getting electric power, heat, water, and so on, has to be provided. This is not a cheap process, and a lot of up-front money has to be provided to get the whole process started.
    Perhaps it is fair to ask if we do the same for our own citizens when they are poor and needy and do not feel safe where they live.
    We need to look at the whole picture. Both groups have serious personal needs.

  2. Are we prepared to offer all of the services needed to bring in that many refuges each year? How much of our tax dollars has to go for efforts to assist refuges instead of assisting those already in this country? ?Where does the money come from to help them all? Practical questiona for which answers never seem to be available.

    1. Refugees have a higher employment rate than the U.S.-born population. Importantly, employed refugees do not remain in the same jobs more often than not, they move on to positions with higher earnings. Refugees have higher entrepreneurship rates than the U.S.-born population and the foreign-born population. In 2015, over 181,000 refugee entrepreneurs generated $4.6 billion in business income. These businesses provide jobs, goods, and services for thousands of Americans, both foreign and native-born. I think rather than worrying about assisting refugees, we should thank them for assisting us.

  3. Thank you, Barbara, for your message regarding refugees
    and immigrants. They so need our compassion, love, and
    care. I will make the calls you suggest and hopefully some good will happen for God’s anawin.

    Blessings on your ministry of Justice and keeping your sisters informed.
    Peace,
    Brigid

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